Filipina ideas about relationships – Guest Writer – Allen Moretsky

The Filipina’s ideas about a relationship is quite different from Western ideas.

The first different social norm I would like to tackle is the foreign (US in particular) age bias. I tell Filipinos here that age differences in relationships are usually only within a certain difference and no more. For example, a man my age, 57, might have girlfriends not younger then 40. Breaking the 40 age barrier is considered riske and for sure a 50 something year old man would be despised if he dated a woman less then 30 and if he reaches down into the late teens, say 18 or 19 he might be considered a “bad” man. No so in the Philippines where the Filipinos are fond of saying “age doesn’t matter”. It is uncanny, but I have recently heard of 2 married couples in high school. And indeed I keep know of several high schools where 4th year students are already “married”. Usually that means that the girl is pregnant and is living with her boyfriend since ladies less then 18 years of age in the Philippines cannot marry. Keep in mind that high school ends at age 16. The relationships for ladies here are quite serious from the get go. A 14 year old who has a 19 year old as a BF may very well marry that person where in the West these “childhood romances” are not taken seriously at all. For the poor families here marriage in the teen years is the norm. Even those who attend college and graduate at age 20 are apt to have a serious BF in college and marry soon thereafter (graduating college at age 20). The mitigating factor is the family and the sacrifice they make to send a child to college and their expectations that the child will help support the family. Many children do not marry at all if they have the good fortune to go overseas to work and can send money back to the family. So given some of these parameters it is quite common to see an older foreigner with a younger woman. And … the family approves. Yes it is financial, but at least the relationship offers hope for the girl and her family and possibly love as well.

So when the foreigner comes here Filipinos think in terms of their own culture, that age doesn’t matter first off and that most eligible girls are less then 22 years of age. Young girls I know start to feel the pangs of spinsterhood in their early 20’s. One young woman I am very friendly with had her first relationship at 19. She met a man in her 60’s. She showed me her journals. The man was a foreigner and she was crazy about him. Madly in love as it were. Unfortunately she picked the wrong guy. This 60 year old man was a regular traveler to the Philippines picking a new girl every time he would come here. If you are like minded please don’t do this to the “nice girls”. There is no shortage of younger more experienced girls and if you go to a place like Angeles City, you can have your pick of hundreds of girls between the ages of 18 and 25. Leave the nice girls in the provinces for more serious relationships. My friend gave her virginity to this foreigner and had her heart broken in the process.